How to Pick an Accredited Ultrasound Tech College Near Holbrook Arizona
Since you have decided to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Holbrook AZ, the next step is to begin the process of choosing a college. First, you must find the right program that will furnish the necessary education to become a skilled professional. And because a number of states do require that sonographers be either licensed or certified, depending on where you will practice you may also need preparation to pass a certification or licensing exam. So it's very important that you research each program so that you can assess and compare your options. But just where does one start? Many students will begin by searching for schools that are within travelling distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Naturally cost and location must be considered when arriving at a decision, but there are other significant factors also. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they sponsor internship programs. These and other qualifiers will be addressed more in depth later in this post. But first, let's go over what an ultrasound tech does and the credentials and online education options that are available.
Ultrasound Technician Job Description
There are several acceptable titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also called sonogram techs, diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers) and ultrasound technologists. No matter what their title is, they all have the same basic job description, which is to perform diagnostic ultrasound techniques on patients. Even though many practice as generalists there are specialties within the profession, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. The majority work in Holbrook AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Typical daily work tasks of a sonogram technician can consist of:
- Keeping records of patient case histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Preparing the ultrasound machines for usage and then sterilizing and recalibrating them
- Moving patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Utilizing equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Evaluating results and determining necessity for additional testing
Sonographers must frequently gauge the performance and safety of their equipment. They also are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. So as to sustain that level of professionalism and remain up to date with medical knowledge, they are required to enroll in continuing education courses on a regular basis.
Ultrasound Tech Degree Programs Offered
Ultrasound technician students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will usually involve about 18 months to 2 years to finish dependent on the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at as long as four years to finish. Another alternative for individuals who have already obtained a college degree is a post graduate certificate program. If you have earned a Bachelor's Degree in any major or an Associate Degree in a relevant health field, you can enroll in a certificate program that will require just 12 to 18 months to complete. Something to keep in mind is that almost all sonographer programs do have a practical training component as part of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which numerous colleges sponsor through Holbrook AZ hospitals and clinics. After you have graduated from one of the degree or certificate programs, you will then need to fulfill the licensing or certification prerequisites in Arizona or whatever state you decide to work in.
Ultrasound Technology Specialties
Ultrasound technology, or diagnostic sonography, has become more popular for diagnosing internal medical conditions because, unlike other medical imaging tools such as X-rays or CT Scans, ultrasound doesn’t expose the body to radiation. This safer approach has made ultrasound imaging the preferred method for testing pregnant women and infants, who have a higher risk for complications due to radiation. However, babies and expectant mothers are not the only ones who can benefit from ultrasound imaging and it is used in many ways to diagnose illness in the body. Following is a partial list of ultrasound technician education specialties available in the Holbrook AZ area:
- Musculoskeletal sonographers can create real-time images of joint injuries, assisting orthopedic surgeons and sports physicians in their diagnosis and treatment.
- Abdominal sonographers specialize in generating images of abdominal internal organs and tissues, such as the pancreas, spleen, liver and gallbladder.
- Breast sonographers conduct ultrasound scans using a sound frequency specifically targeted for breast tissue to evaluate tumors and other abnormalities as a method of verifying or contradicting the results of a mammogram.
- Obstetrics/Gynecology sonographers work with women to scan their reproductive organs and assess the development and health of fetuses throughout the pregnancy.
- Echocardiography sonographers are trained in the imaging and evaluation of the heart, its valves and vessels, and the blood flow to and from the heart.
- Vascular technologists are trained to use ultrasound technology to identify damaged areas or blockages in blood vessels, and to gauge the flow of blood through veins and arteries.
- Ophthalmology sonographers conduct diagnostic tests on the eyes and surrounding muscles and tissue.
- Neurosonology sonographers are specially trained to use ultrasound imaging to detect blockages, tumors or abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord.
Sonogram Tech Online Programs
As previously mentioned, nearly all sonogram tech schools have a practical component to their programs. So while you can earn a degree or certificate online, a significant portion of the training will be either held in an on-campus laboratory or at an authorized off campus facility. Practical training can usually be satisfied through an internship at a local Holbrook AZoutpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. However the remainder of the training and classes can be accessed online in your Holbrook home. This is particularly convenient for those students that continue working while obtaining their degrees. In addition online colleges are many times more affordable than on campus alternatives. Expenses for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just as with any sonographer school you are looking at, make sure that the online school you choose is accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly crucial for licensing, certification and job placement (more on accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn outside of the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online degree could be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Sonography Schools
After you have determined which certificate or degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of assessing and comparing ultrasound tech schools. You will first probably want to decide whether you will attend classes online or commute to a college campus in the Holbrook AZ area. Clearly location will be significant if you select the latter, and the price of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualification also. But there are additional things that you must also take into account, for instance if the colleges are accredited and if they provide internships. So in order to perform your due diligence so that you can arrive at your ultimate selection, below are a few questions that you need ask each ultrasound tech college prior to making a decision.
Are the Sonogram Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of ultrasound technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of sonography is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone an extensive examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Holbrook AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the ultrasound tech programs you are assessing have associations with Holbrook AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Holbrook health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the ultrasound tech programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Holbrook AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the ultrasound tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the sonographer college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Holbrook AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Holbrook Ultrasound Tech Training
Choosing the right ultrasound technician degree or certificate program is an important first step to entering a rewarding new profession delivering diagnostic services to patients. Sonographer schools require that you have a high school diploma or a GED. Apart from satisfying academic requirements, you should be in at least fairly good physical health, capable of standing for lengthy time frames with the ability to routinely lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it often necessary to position patients and move heavy machinery. Additional desirable talents include technical proficiency, the ability to keep levelheaded when confronted by an angry or anxious patient and the ability to communicate clearly and compassionately. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are considering. This is the case whether you choose an online degree or commute to the school campus to attend classes. And by asking the appropriate questions so that you can assess each school, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the ideal school for your education. And with the right training, discipline and motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as an ultrasound technologist in Holbrook Arizona.